” My Brilliant Divorce” Written by Irish playwright Geraldine Aron and directed by fellow Irishwomen Aedin Moloney put forth a power house play at the at New Ohio Theatre. On a simple trendy set,(five pieces of hanging cloth), lighting director Jessica Kasprisin is able to work magic with the trendy set which was very reminiscent to a play I saw recently, “Extreme Whether”. Unlike “Whether”, Kasprisin takes us through a bevy of different lights and the effects of the mood within the play. Her lighting designs are nothing short of brilliant herself. Moloney is able to take the effects of the lighting and piece Rachel,(Melissa Gilbert), against the many backdrops that we able to wash in.
The story is about Rachel, a nice Jewish girl who could have married into the Cohen lighting family chooses to marry an Englishman and move to London after a brief dating period. Winston’s parents are not too pleased as well. They make it clear that she is very brash and does not fit the mold of an English housewife. The two have a daughter, Vanessa, who decides to move to Aruba with a musician named” Hot Sticks”. Vanessa has known about her father’s infidelities for quite some time with a young Argentinean women. Thinking she would be upset, Rachel is relieved to be getting a divorce from” big round head”. As time passes however, she is completely alone, with the exception of Axle, a stuffed poodle, and begins to feel the effects of empty nest syndrome. Gilbert takes us through the dating seen in London, the younger guys she’s gone out with, the name droppers she meets out,and other men who she has nothing in common with.
As the years go by for Rachel, she finds humor in the many ups and downs she has encountered. She has a close friend, Finton, whom she confides with, she becomes a regular at Dr. Steadman’s as she borders on hypochondria at the age of 38. Rachel at the same time becomes independent, she vacations alone, finds a job at Air BNB which she really likes and becomes good at. By age 44, she has tattoos on her wrists, she has not filed for divorce yet, but has decided to move forward with one. After telling Winston of her desires to do so, he has a heart attack the very next day. At the hospital Winston tell Rachel he misses her, her cooking and the house. Rachel is willing to take him back until she shows up at the hospital only to find his third tryst standing over his bedside.
Heart broken Rachel moves on, she is more independent then ever, especially after her mother dies. Only to go on vacation, she has a chance meeting with Dr Steadman at the resort that she is staying at. The Dr confides to her that he has loved her the last four years and she realizes that through her frequent visits, that he knows everything about her.
What makes this show a stand out is the conversations that Rachel has over the telephone with the various people in her life. We hear the people on the other side of the phone through the speakers. She talks to Winston, Finton and her other friend Warren. Aron generates a lot of humor through these conversations as does Rachel doing impressions of her daughter and different strangers she encounters.
Melissa Gilbert in this one women show is outstanding. Her movements, comedic timing and little dances make this show a must see. She puts on a clinic as far as how to command the stage. She has been acting since she was four years old, has done T.V., “Little House On The Prairie”, movies and stage. Her presence here is dominating in putting Rachel through many trials and tribulations. Moloney’s direction glides Gilbert through the scenes, which are always fast and up tempo.
“My Brilliant Divorce” is produced by the Fallen Angel Theater Company. The show plays till the end of April at the New Ohio theatre on Christopher St. It runs 90 minutes with no intermission. This show is a hidden gem and should not be missed.